We’re almost two weeks into the new year, which means that AB5 is now in full effect if you’re living in California or if you’re working for a company based in California.
As a refresher, AB5 requires companies to classify their independent contractors as employees. The bill was initially introduced particularly to impact ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft, who classify all of their drivers as independent contractors despite the fact that the business could, of course, not exist without their thousands and thousands of drivers.
The law, however, has had a widespread impact on everyone from freelance writers to people who work as performers and models in all forms of adult content creation.
What does AB5 mean for cam models?
Alana Evans, President of the Adult Performers Actors Guild (APAG), praised the law in a statement posted on the organization’s blog back in September.
Evans stated that, “The passage of #AB5 in California is a massive win for gig workers in the state. As the list of workers affected by misclassification grows, the adult film performer has always been part of this family. Often labeled as independent contractors, workers in adult film are left without many benefits the average employee enjoys. While it may not seem important now, you never know when one of these benefits could change your existence.”
While it’s a very positive outlook, the very real issue is that not every company is going to be able to hire their contractors on as an employee, like the law attempts to make them do.
As YNOT previously reported, Streamate issued an email to select models to let them know of changes that would have to be made in order for them to continue working with them. In the email, a representative stated, “In order to reside in California and be a model on Streamate, you’ll need to be ’employed’ by a third-party company (business) that follows California state employment guidelines…if a model is still a California resident and has not accepted employment either for the third-party company mentioned above, or another third-party entity working with Streamate [by the end of 2019], [they] will have streaming disabled on their account until a solution has been found.”
It remains an issue throughout California that cam models are relatively left in the dark about what’s going to happen to their livelihood.
Is this definitely going to affect me?
Honestly? No one is really sure yet. There hasn’t been much discussion about how this law will be enforced and multiple companies, including Uber and Postmates, are heading to court to get the law overturned. The California Trucking Association just won a lawsuit to get truckers exempt from AB5. There’s no telling how many more exemptions will come about in the next year.
It’s also important to note that there already are exemptions in place. You can remain an independent contractor if an employer can prove that you:
(A) are free from the control of the employer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of such work and in fact;
(B) do work that is not in the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
(C) are customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.
This is known as the ABC test, and you must be able to prove all three.
The one that appears to be the most flexible is B. Technically speaking, streaming and production companies are in the business of selling content. Performers are in the business of creating content. It might be possible that a small distinction like that could be enough to keep your independent contractor status.
So, what are cam sites doing about this?
We asked several cam sites to provide insight into their plans.
Shirley Lara, COO of Chaturbate.com, said, “Naturally we’ve been reviewing the AB5 legislation and the possible impact on California-based independent broadcasters who choose to broadcast on the Chaturbate social media streaming platform. Although we are anticipating further clarity with respect to specific AB5 language and compliance matters, we do not foresee that limiting access to the Chaturbate platform for independent broadcasters in California will be necessary.”
We also reached out to Streamate to see if they could shed some light on how they are proceeding in 2020. They declined to comment, saying only that they are “working & communicating directly with our models.” You will recall however that Streamate had already revealed a bit of its strategy in the previously mentioned email sent to select models.
Flirt4Free was also contacted for a statement, but our request for comment was not returned by the time of this publication.
Each business will comply with AB5 in a manner that aligns with their appetite for risk. @chaturbate's assessment of their business, and their revised agreement, show that they believe that they are not at risk and are complying with AB5 because cam performers pass the ABC test. https://t.co/o46DvMUk9b
— Michelle LeBlanc ? XBIZ LA + AVN LV + Internext (@FSCmichelle) January 7, 2020
JackieMichele is writer and marketer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has appeared on Yahoo, Food and Wine and the Huffington Post. She’s been an editor, an influencer strategist and ghostwriter, a librarian and a teacher. Follow her Instagram at @jackie_gualtieri and contact her via email@example.com.
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